Could you watch your baby for any sign she needs to poop, then rush your tot to the toilet? Would you get rid of all obvious "girlish" or "boyish" toys and clothes in your house? Or allow your child to dictate his own schedule?
These actions are part of three unusual parenting philosophies: intense attachment parenting, independence-minded hands-free parenting, and gender-neutral parenting. A new special on Discovery Health, Radical Parenting, spotlights three families whose radical parenting styles go way beyond the norm. The special airs March 3, 8 p.m. Eastern, part of the network's Baby Week.
Dr. Jenn Berman, a psychologist and author of "SuperBaby" and "The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids," says these extreme styles are partly a result of the amount of information available for modern parents.
"One of the great things about parents today is they do their homework and there's so much more information available," she says. "Parents have a great wealth of information at their fingertips. They're reading up and seeing what they identify with, what feels consistent with their values as a family."
While most of these parenting styles may seem out there, they each carry a lesson that can benefit parents.
What It Is: Parents seek to create a sense of safety by closely interacting with their baby by practicing extended breastfeeding, carrying their child in a sling or wrap, co-sleeping, and elimination communication, which is when parents avoid diapers in favor of closely watching their child for signs that they need to go to the bathroom.
What You Can Learn from Attachment Parenting: "We know a lot about how beneficial touch is," Berman says, "and we put a kid in a car seat and snap him in and go and a lot of kids don't get enough touch and interaction. The idea of wearing a child in a sling versus putting them in plastic seat where they can't see, especially children who don't have as much neck control. Attachment parenting is touch focused."
Gender Neutral Parenting
What It Is: To avoid gender stereotyping and free a child to be who they are, parents raise them without the traditional gender-specific toys, clothes, and activities.
What You Can Learn From It: "An average family at home, they may say, 'I'm not just going to get princess dolls for my daughter and soldiers and bats for my son. My son might want some princess dolls and my daughter might want bats and balls."
What It Is: Hoping to raise a motivated, created child, parents create an open-ended atmosphere by avoiding a schedule, or even school, and letting children pursue whatever they're interested in.
What You Can Learn From It: "They really followed their kids love of learning. If the kids said, 'I'm interested in dinosaurs,' they followed that passion and interest and any parent in any family would benefit from doing that."
Find out your child's true nature and the best parenting style for it!
Whatever you choose, Berman says taking some time to consider your parenting choices is a positive thing. "Anytime parents reevaluate, that's great," she says.
"One of the cool things about all of the families (featured in the show), they did their homework and made conscious choices about how they were going to approach parenting."
And watch to see how your child is reacting to any changes in parenting.
"Look at how your child is responding to whatever technique you're implementing," Berman says. "And talk to your pediatrician. They're not just for when your child falls down or has a fever."
Find out more:
Want to know the7 Secrets to Raising a Happy Child?